Hide Articles List

7 articles on this Page

THE WELSH EARMEK.

News
Cite
Share

THE WELSH EARMEK. AN APPEAL TO THE LAND COMMISSIONERS. ABOUT twelve months ago, as a result f strong representations, we interviewed several of the prominent landowners, land agents, and leading agriculturists of this county with respect to the condition of the farming industry. The facts published in our columns showed the farmer to be in such a hopeless position, which was not only absolutely alarming, but entailed grave fears that unless something were done, and that speedily, to relieve the strain, the Welsh farmer would become as extinct as tlro dodo. People are apt to think that the farmer's complaint is something like the t boy's cry of "wolf" in the earlier part of the fable. Possibly the spirit which is the ouieome of a dependence upon the weather in a. fickle climate is a grumbling one, but the revelations then made could leave no doubt on any mind as to the real crisis through which the farmer was passing. The general opinion of the tenants was that the landlords had not sufficiently recognised the difficulties of the situation, by merely making a reduction of a small per ceutage oft an unjust rent. It was advocated that the tenant should be remunerated first before the landlord, .and that the rate and tithe .collector should follow in his wake. A reduction of. 50 per. cent. in rent, the estab- lishment of a Land Court for Wales, in which the whole question between landlord And tenant could be thrashed out, or a gliding scale to be mutually agreed upon by both parties. The remarkable interview with Captain D H. MYTTON, of Garth, will probably be within the recollection of our readers. This gentleman, who is a landlord, and also a practical farmer, admitted frankly that farming was to him an annual Jogg—his balance sheet for the last year showing a deficit of 1372 4s. Id. The establishment of a Land Court, he thought would be one of the most mischievous thing. that could be introduced," and ibe doubted whether the appoint- ment of a Committee of Enquiry would be of any benefit. In lieu of a md Court, he suggested that tenants, should go to the landlord and ask for a reduction of rent, and he felt sure their case would receive every consideration. Captain MYTTOX admitted that "the fall in rents ¡:Wile not equal to the prices at that moment, but, they were then (September, 1892,) j .anui;lmliy low, and should not be taken as nn average." The facts given by Captain MyrEON were of the greatest importance. If he were bereft of his other sources of income, exclusive of his farming profits, he would be in the same position as the ordinary tenant farmer To the latter, who is dependent solely for his livelihood on the .cultivation of the soil, an annual loss means bankruptcy and ruin. Such was the direful aspect of affairs. Though not laying claim, to have been the prime movers in directing public attention to the condition of the Welsh fariner, we;, .may aafely say that the statements made a your ago and made public through the medium of the Express and Times were such -,&B to gain the ear of the public, and also in A direct way to arrest the immediate notice of ti e representatives of the people in Parlia- ment. They were made aware through our columns of the condition of the Mont- gomeryshire farmers. Revelations, much of ihe same character, were forthcoming from other parts of the Principality, and the result was that the Government deemed it j expedient to appoint a Land Commission to eaqture into the conditions of agriculture. This body has now been engaged in taking evidence, and will shortly visit Montgomery- ehite. Meantime,in order toascertaininaless formal manner the opinion of the farmers upon their prospects, we addressed a circular letter to prominent agriculturists throughout the county, in which was sought infor- luatioa upon (a) the result of the harvest, ,(b) the winter prospects (c) and the farmers financial condition. Suggestions for the .benefit of agriculturists were also invited. The replies have been published, and there •,j8 a. remarkable concensus of opinion. -Cereals are a fair average, and harvested in good condition; roots are being ruined by ,mildew. With a light hay harvest and the almost total absence of rain the outlook for -the winter is very gloomy, while the price tilow offered for stock makes the struggle of the farmer, in the words of Mr. LAWTON Moons, heart-breaking." As to the :-fLtwuicial condition both hill and lowland farmers unite in saving it is even worse than a year ago. The profit of the past rtweive months has been practically nil, while there has been a steady drain upon Jiis other resources. OUt correspondents were selected indis- ••eriminately from both political parties, and were distributed over an area extending from Brampton Brian to Llangurig, and frout Llanbadarn-fynydd to Meifod. We Jttto«r they are fully representative of the .agricultural community Taking these facts sinto consideration, no other conclusion can "be come to but that farmers are verging on ,ingotvency-tind that through no fault of ;-their own. but as the result of natural and .economic laws. The first question then is, ..hat can be done to enable them to tid-i "over this season ? It should not be forgotten that it is not one bad season after a number ,of prosperous years, but a bad one succeed- ing fifteen years that have been more or less ,uu prtpfitable to the farmer. What we ,.b.ouM like to see would be the landlords of tthe county meeting together and agreeing Z*1 ,that the rent for the current half-year should not be demanded. Its moral effect would be such that the landlords themselves would derive the greatest benefit. Farmers would be so encouraged that the new life And energy imparted to them would mani- fest itself in the improved condition of the farm. The relation between landlord and itanant-which is in nuiny instances very indifferent—would be vastly improved, and in the face of the enquiry of the Royal Commission the landlords themselves would be the greatest gainers. Judging from past experience we are soarineed the landlords will do nothing of ow kmd. Many of them, like SHYLOCK, will still demand their pound of flesh, without abatement, whether their working partner, the tenant, be ruined thereby or not. Under these circumstances we invite the members of the Welsh Land Commission to take this matter into their most serious consideration. From the rate of progress they have alreidy, made they will probably not be able to issue their report before the end of 18'1; and another year will elapse before it can possibly be legislated upon. To the Welsh farmer this will be too late. His bit of capital will have been eaten up by rent, and he himself will have been reduced to the oosition of a labourer or to that of a beggar Why then should not the Com- mission at once present an interim report during the next month. The Government then might pass a short Act during the I Autumn Session suspending the operation of the Law of Distress except under an order from the County Court, wherein it had been shewn that the farmer was in a position and had realised from his farm sufficient to pay his rent. allowance having been made for working expenses. This measure would operate just in those instan- ces in which it was most needed, and would remain inoperative in those cases where the landlords have in the past generously met their tenants with abatements. There is one other matter of which the Commissioners have already had experience It is the difficulty of getting farmers to publicly state their grievances. The total absence of combination has rendered the Welsh farmer dumb in the presence of his landlord. It will be noticed that even the majority of our Reports on the Harvest are unsigned. One would have thought that an innooent statement such as was invited would not endanger the position of a tenant. But the fear of the landlord enters into every thought and action of the soil tiller. It is therefore to be hardly wondered at if the position and the prospects of the agri- culturist are not fully investigated and fairly put in evidence before the Commis- sioners. We can only trust that the temer- ity displayed will have the effect of induc- ing Lord CARRINGTON and his fellow mem- bers to place great importance on the utter- ances of the few who come forward, because they in reality represent the opinions of the many.

BEGINNING AT HOME.

REGISTRATION COURTS. -

THE HARVEST.

MR BUCKLEY'S OTTEtt HOUNDS.

- CONFLAGRATIONS AT CAERSWS…

+. A FARMER KILLED NEAR POOL…